Afghan vote security on track: Military chiefs

Afghan military commanders have said that a massive security plan was in place to protect the troubled country`s parliamentary elections from insurgent attacks.

Last Updated: Sep 15, 2010, 20:55 PM IST

Kabul: Afghan military commanders have said
that a massive security plan was in place to protect the
troubled country`s parliamentary elections from insurgent
attacks.

War-weary Afghans are due to go to the polls on Saturday
to elect 249 members of the lower house of parliament, the
Wolesi Jirga.

More than 2,500 candidates from the 34 provinces are
standing amid concerns that the vote could be disrupted by the
Taliban.

The insurgents, waging war on the Kabul government for
almost nine years, have already been blamed for killing three
candidates and attacks on dozens of supporters after warning
that anyone involved in the vote was a target.

General Afzal Aman, the Afghan army`s operational chief,
said his troops along with tens of thousands of police and
US-led NATO forces were prepared to respond to any militant
threat.

"We`ve deployed 63,000 troops for election security," he
told reporters.

"The threat from the enemy is not as serious as people
are concerned," he said, citing recent "military assessments"
in some of the most unstable regions of the south, where the
insurgency is concentrated.

"We`re on track," he added.
General Mohammad Zahir Azimi, defence ministry spokesman,
said more than 400,000 Afghan and foreign security forces were
involved in operations designed to protect the ballot against
rebel attacks.

The Afghan army has hit a record number of 140,000 while
the police force, being trained along with the army in a
US-funded programme, has 100,000 officers operating alongside
the 150,000-strong NATO force.

"All these troops are directly and indirectly involved in
operations for the elections," Azimi said.

PTI